Post Game Anal. Because anal is short for analysis.
And as if you needed to ask: This is another article by Kelsey Eyes.
I finally crawled out of my bunker after Tuesday night’s spectacular flub to the Blues, the scent of Crown Royal and Birthday Cake-flavoured ice cream radiating from my pores (note to Canadian Speller’s Anonymous: I’ve relapsed). I spent my entire Wednesday in a creepy Kelly Ripa-tron state of denial, telling myself: Jonathan Quick was beyond human stopping 40 shots on goal, he had his one Playoff mistake, never again. As I gargled Listerine, I said aloud, “Darryl Sutter will put the lines back. He has to. He will put Kopi with Brown and Carter with Richards.” My mind was still mulling over Sutter’s statement about Jeff and Kopi being a hot new item, completely disregarding Carter’s bromance with Richards.
Before tonight’s game, I lit a candle for Kopitar, praying for the Earthly spirits to release him from his current affliction of team babysitter. He evidently felt the need to step back from aggressive sniping into the role of being well placed for every missed pass and concentrating solely on backcheck. Lately, instead of seeing Kopi rush the net with Grade A scoring chances, I see him circling back to collect passes, spoon feeding chances to the younger set. Kopitar as the Mark Wahlberg of the ice: once a promising white rapper and now just a diaper-changer to four screaming children. Our beloved Kopitar had seemingly stepped into the early-season Doughty scoring mindfuck. Fans had not seen a Goal-pitar in 17 games, and during the first playoff game he produced 0 out of 6 faceoff draws.
My worry for FrankenKopi, cataloguing Sutter’s line changes and strategizing how to combat the Blue’s forecheck was completely shot to shit when I heard Quick had left the ice after pre-game warmups, bent over and grasping his leg. Kings fans have a huge amount of respect for Bernier and what he’s been able to accomplish this season, however, the blood of the 2012 Stanley Cup opponents was on Quick’s hands. We needed Quick. We needed him not only to psychologically redeem himself after his game one mistake, but we needed him to comfort us in a time when the lines were changing, Kopitar was in a draught and we spent so much time battling in our zone. Bernier is a world class goalie and deserves a starting position, but Quick is our security blanket. But like a Harry Potter security blanket that will attack people, burst into flames, and do your Muggle Studies homework for you whilst you kick it with Bearded Playoff Hagrid and drink Butter Beer.
I could finally settle in to watch the game once I heard that Quick was heading out onto the ice as starting goaltender. Oh wait. I couldn’t fucking watch this happen, I had to kick it all Renaissance and listen to the radio, because DirecTV cock blocked my game. What are we going to do tonight, Brain? Once I have eliminated DirecTV and Fox West, Pinky, my plan to take over the world will be complete. Are you pondering what I’m pondering?
The first period came to me in rainbow Technicolour. It was exactly what I wanted and it was beautiful. We had an early powerplay when Brownie was tripped, and Kopitar had a shot on goal. My expectations soared. We received another power play courtesy of Schwartz and a Richards shot on goal. Yes and yes. Done and doner. We were moving the puck exactly like we needed to be: two quick plays to get it out of the zone, speed through the neutral zone, keeping our five in tight like a pair of Daisy Dukes with crisp connecting passes. Forwards were moving back, making themselves more available and we were getting the pucks in deep to establish the forecheck. Pre-game, Fraser used the word getting “ready” for tonight’s game. Our defense was about as ready as a teen mom during game one. They weren’t ready to go in to retrieve pucks and so they didn’t get them out. A prime example of this is a Blue’s goal from a bad clear by Scuderi. But it looked like in game two we had corrected every single one of my gripes and were ready to play the Los Angeles King’s Collection for Target brand of hockey.
But then somehow the Blues’ stupid-fucking-penalty-icitis became airborne. A sloppy change (which also occurred during game one) led to too many men on ice and a power play for the Blues. The goal horn became enraged by the stupidity and decided to randomly sound, causing every space cadet in the crowd surfing Facebook to jump to their feet and cheer. It was then that the penalty-icitis became straight up Mad Cow disease and caused every Blues player to lose their damn minds. The Blues coaches and players had spent so much time and energy telling everyone, “we’re big, we’re physical, we’re here to crush some bitches, trust me, I’m a doctor” that the team went into physicality overdrive and got stuck. Reaves received a high sticking call well after the whistle was blown first period and never stopped acting cray the entire game. Even calm as a cucumber Kopitar was riled up by a pushing and shoving Jackman before a faceoff. It was this coked-up, undisciplined style of hockey that led to a 5 on 3 for the Kings and a goal by Richards from Kopitar deflecting off of Brown at the top of the crease. Insert a Scrapbook photo save by Quick and we had a very solid 20 minutes of hockey first period.
Even though CNBC had their little gabfab bitchfest segment called “LA’s Nasty Edge” detailing some pretty sexy shots of our boys delivering what they refer to as “cheap shots”, I am still very proud of the maturity of my team. It is important for the team, of course, to have an emotional investment in the game and it is also necessary to play with an edge. But a great team plays with discipline. The Blues trash talked, cheap shot, and threw their weight around the entire game. Our boys stood firm, played rough, but maintained level heads. They never went into fuck-the-game-prepare-to-die mode, not even once and continued to focus on what was important. With the small exception of Jordan Nolan’s slashing call in the 2nd period, when he naively succumbed to the bullshit and cost us a worthless penalty.
You might also call the penalty for the monster hit by Penner on Backes worthless. But as you know, I have a soft spot for Pancakes and I like to see him all fired up. Plus, I think Backes should try out for the NBA with his maudlin injury performance. So this ref says: meh.
Random side note: totally loving the effort by Williams lately even though he looks like J.C. Chasez from ‘N Sync. Just wanted to share that with the class. The Wonder Twins (aka Muzzin and Ellerby) also looked much more composed during this game, communicating and moving the puck to the forwards quickly. I also find it hilarious that Richards ended up being a total stud muffin tonight after Sutter was saying he was terrible on the road.
And then the third period happened, and we lost that lovin’ feeling. We had a bowl of spaghetti and I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed. It rolled off the table and onto the floor, and then my poor meatball caused Berglund to score. Good things happen to those who wait to shoot, and drive the net to score on the rebound, yaddya yaddya… Blues can suck my nuts.
Brownie tried to recapture our lead with a dramatic curl and “FML I’m crashing into the goal post thigh first”, but it seemed as though both he and Elliott rubbed some dirt on it and were okay. But our tight passes had escaped us like the skin of an Orange County housewife considering botox. We couldn’t get the puck out of our zone quickly and in a similar fashion to game one, there was a last minute goal. Only it wasn’t ours. Harrassin’ Jackman wristed one in on a rush with 50.4 seconds left on the clock to win the game for the Blues.
And the word we are left with is Adversity. Well another good one would be Faceoff. As in, you know, winning one (not directed at you, Jeffrey who won 6 out of 7. I’m talkin’ to you under 50%ers. You know who you are). But right now I’m going to go all Tony Robbins on you and help you achieve your dreams.
So we are down two games. I’m not sure if you had Stanley Cup amnesia, but we’re the LA fucking Kings. We are the champions of the underdog. We love to be underestimated and show you what we can do. Fraser also used the phrase playing like we have “targets on our backs”. We are now in the spotlight, being watched and are expected to perform, and we aren’t accustomed to that.
This is why I love my team, not even being from Los Angeles. We are not what you are accustomed to. We win when we goddamn feel like it. We want you to think you have us licked, and we will come back stronger and knock you on your ass. The first period tonight proved we have what it takes to defend the Cup. Now we improve the face off and work on stretching the intensity and ability over the course of 60 minutes. Game one I didn’t even recognize my team. Tonight I saw the boys I love. I know their determination and yours. Like Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde when teaching a friend how to seductively retrieve a pencil from the floor, “you’ve got all the equipment; you just need to read the manual”. We have the pieces to win again and we demonstrated them tonight, our boys just need to stay focused throughout the game like the game’s got really big boobs. And take those faceoffs like maybe they could see them later.
Hey there, buddy. Wanna get some ice cream? Will that make you feel better? It’s gonna be okay, you know. We got this. You wanna know how I know?
After a King’s shot on goal, Harassin’ Jackman and Co. are getting chippy and squawking like spring chickens, and Jeff Carter skates off in the other direction with his bemused smirk. We are poised, disciplined and confident. And that is the attitude of repeat Stanley Cup Champions.
But I don’t know anything about hockey so this is all just spitball, eh??
Categories: L.A. Kings News